Well this is my last blog post...I did my last class this past weekend and it is over. Hard to believe. Some things I learned:
-anyone can fight: it's more about technique than strength and strength doesn't hurt!
-i hate duck walking.
-punching and kicking things feels awesome and is way harder and less intuitive than it looks.
-no matter how in shape i feel, im probably not nearly as much as i thought.
-every time i do something scary i feel good afterwards. A while ago my friend told me she was trying to do something that scared her every day. While i'm not sure i want to comitt to that, because I don't know realistically that I would follow through and I dont' want to set myself up to fail, I really really like the idea and want to at least continually check in with myself to see what i'm not doing, that i can tackle - both exericse wise and way beyond.
I went to my last kickboxing class and ironically it was probably the hardest, not because of what we were doing but because of how tired I was going into it. I usually wake up around 8:30 or 9 and go to the 11 am class...this time I had gotten up around 7:30 ish and then fallen back asleep later and woke up at 10:51. I was so torn about going because I've never walked in late and I was feeling really tired and I knew that I'd feel better afterwards so I went.
It's hard to remember now how I was nervous to sign up for this gym; at this point it feels comfortable and I'm disappointed it's soon to be over. Of course I could continue and the prices are very reasonable for all that you get (convenient location, positive energy, unique equipment, variety in classes and levels). At this point though I feel lucky to have had this opportunity to know what's out there and know that if/when I want to come back, I can do so and feel welcome and confident that I belong.
Since getfit@MIT is coming to an end, I thought it would be useful to post some tips based on my overall experience in case someone out there is interested in learning how to swing dance. I had a lot of fun and would definitely encourage anyone interested to give it a try! Here are some things that you might find useful.
First, although you can just pick up and go to a Boston Swing Central Friday night dance or MIT Wednesday night dance, I think taking at least one basic class (like the 6 count offered by New School Swing) is a good idea. As a complete novice I was glad that I had a full set of classes behind me before I attended my first dance. However, I was also happy that I didn’t wait too long to go to a dance – social dancing is very different than dancing in class and it was useful to know how what I learned in class could be applied in a real situation.
Before this week’s tandem Charleston class I spent some time practicing the basic steps. I went online to watch videos so I could practice just how my feet should be moving and where they should be on each count. This really paid off. The movement felt more natural and knowing where my feet should be helped me get back on track when I got lost in the steps during class. Since I felt more confident and not flustered I was able to look around me, talk to my partners, and ultimately realize that others in the class were finding it hard, too. About midway through class the instructors also told us that this is a difficult course with a steep learning curve. It was nice to hear.
After finishing up my two beginner courses it was time to take an advanced beginner course. Charleston looks like so much fun, so I decided to take that. The class is listed as “Tandem Charleston and more” and I’m finding it really, really hard. What is making it so very tricky for me is that I’m having a hard time holding on to the rhythm of the basic footwork. This is problematic because the Charleston involves specific steps forward, steps back and kicks forward and back. Many of the moves we’ve learned involve starting or coming back into positions where follows are in front of leads. So if I’m off on my steps/kicks that means I’m tangling up my legs with my partner.
I attended yet another Friday night social dance at Boston Swing Central last week. It was a lot of fun and very exhausting. This time around it seemed like there may have been more leads than follows. Or maybe the dance was full of a large number of high stamina people. It just felt like I spent much more time dancing this week than during any of the other nights I have attended so far. Usually I get a moment to sit out a song and catch my breath, but not this time around. There was always someone seeking out a dance partner and since I was there to dance I certainly didn’t want to say no.
I made it to my second Friday night Boston Swing Central social dance and it’s definitely getting easier. All the dances include a lesson beforehand – I didn’t get there for the lesson the first time I went, but did make it this time around. It was useful to practice a bit before the dance started. Although I recognized some people from my classes, most were people I hadn’t seen before. Some were experienced dancers and others were swing dancing for the first time, including the friend I brought along with me. She was so excited to learn how to swing dance. The class taught folks 6 count swing over the course of an hour. It still amazes me just how many people were there – all of my classes have been large, but this lesson before the dance had a huge number of people attending. We barely fit in a circle around the very sizeable room.
After a one week hiatus (snowboarding at my usual kickboxing time), it was nice to be back. While i was waiting for the bus, one of the girls I've run into at the gym and talked to a few times, was driving by and offered me a ride which was so nice; That's part of what has been great about this experience - getting exposed to new people and hearing about what's brought them to this gym. There's definitely a ton of work out options around here and of course with the nice weather, it's limitless. So I find it interesting how people came to get started at Redline (seems like a lot of groupons have helped) and I get it - it's good for the whole body, it's an upbeat atmosphere and there's continually room to improve.
Swing dance class this week turned out to be a welcome reprieve on what was an otherwise pretty horrible day. It admittedly did take a bit more effort to get myself to class that night, but I had a commitment and couldn't let a bad day stand in the way.
It was a great class – we spent a lot of time working on what we learned in prior weeks and ended with learning a Charleston step. The step was simple but took a bit of coordination, so I wouldn't say it was easy. Overall, the class was pretty exhausting and energizing, which was just what I needed. It’s amazing just how much a little bit of exercise can affect my mood for the better. And swing dancing is a nice thing to do after a bad day - people are generally friendly, so there's a little bit of chatting to go along with the exercise. I highly recommend it!